Sunday, May 20, 2012

Voyageurs Cup Matchday 3 Report

Nothing quite like a long weekend to catch up on the news of the the mid-week.  Later today, I'll have some thoughts on Canada's 23-man squad for June's USA friendly and World Cup qualifiers against Cuba and Honduras.  And Friday I posted the standings after the penultimate stage of my Voyageurs Cup contest.

But now, on to the final round first leg this past Wednesday between Vancouver and Toronto


: Ryan Johnson 66', Eric Hassli 90+'
[match stats]

Headline: Eric Hassli rocket saves Whitecaps' night (Victoria Times-Colonist)
There is no more succinct way to summarize the happenings in this match.

Story in pictures
Much was made of this celebration. Get over it.

One paragraph analysis

For a team that is now 0-0-9 in MLS play (yes, I list draws before losses, deal with it) Toronto showed something that I was not expecting in this match.  That something was competence.  This was not a dominating performance and Toronto were not clearly the better team, as some fans on Twitter were suggesting.  On the other hand they were not clearly worse, as has been the case in most of their matches this season.  Their defense held save for Hassli's moment of inspiration (see below) and they generated enough chances to make one count.  The much-maligned Julian de Guzman, who to these eyes has been one of Toronto's best players this year, was a creative force and the man responsible for the touch of class that Johnson was able to convert for the 1-0 goal.  As for Hassli, just watch the video again for the 100th time.

Special Eric Hassli GOLAZO! video edition

Attendance check: 14,878 at BC Place

Canadian content report
No Canadians on the pitch or the bench for Vancouver.  Toronto seem to have established a core Canadian five in recent matches, at least with the demotion of Aceval and the slow recovery by Torsten Frings allowing Dunfield into the matches.

Adrian Cann90
Ashtone Morgan90
Doneil Henry90
Julian de Guzman90
Terry Dunfield90
Total Mins450

Sebastien Le TouxVancouver2
Eric HassliVancouver2
Ryan JohnsonToronto2
Atiba HarrisVancouver1
Reggie LambeToronto1
Darren MattocksVancouver1
Yashir PintoEdmoton1

If you count the goal Eric Hassli scored against Toronto in last year's final that "never happened" he is tied for the all-time lead with Dwayne De Rosario at 4 goals.

2012.05.23: Vancouver at Toronto  8 pm et / 5 pm pt

This match might be the only important match Toronto plays the rest of this season.  Vancouver will have a difficult time matching their intensity.

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